MOBILE, Ala. – In a crowded banquet room at the Mobile Convention Center, dozens of college football stars mill around wearing their generic Senior Bowl garb.
Yet, one player stands out. He is walking around in a navy-blue sweatshirt with seven letters emboldened across the chest: “O-L-E M-I-S-S.”
Defensive lineman Josiah Coatney is a member of the South squad in this year’s Reese’s Senior Bowl and is proud to represent the University of Mississippi and help give his school national exposure.
“Of course, I am wearing my Ole Miss stuff,” Coatney replied when we caught up with him Tuesday. “I will always represent my university.”
He has represented the Rebels well during his time in Oxford.
In his career in the red and blue, Coatney played in 36 games registering 174 total tackles, 70 of them of the solo variety. He also tallied 15.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
The four-star recruit out of Douglasville, Ga. has excelled at every level of football thus far, including a stellar career at Holmes County Community College prior to joining the Ole Miss program.
Senior Bowl showcase
Practicing in front of the hundreds of NFL scouts and coaches who have descended into Mobile this week, Coatney looks to maintain his reputation of being a player who hustles and makes plays.
“I want to be physical and be a player who stands out,” Coatney explained.
“I want to be destructive and produce. Anything we do in drills or in scrimmage, I want to produce, produce, produce.”
Josiah Coatney on his mentality at the Senior Bowl
This week, Coatney is looking for the same production he provided during his Ole Miss career — and, so far, he has achieved just that, garnering attention from some NFL execs and media covering the Senior Bowl.
The Ole Miss DTs have made themselves some money this week. Both Benito Jones and Josiah Coatney have been among the most disruptive defensive linemen in 1 on 1 drills.
— Chris Trapasso (@ChrisTrapasso) January 22, 2020
— Austin Silvey (@SilveyESP) January 23, 2020
Coatney also did something for the Rebels that makes him extremely proud. He believes he left the program in much better shape than when he joined it.
“I feel we are close to establishing the culture we want at Ole Miss,” Coatney reasoned.
“It looks good with us having a lot of young players who are doing the things we want to do as a program to get us to the next level. I have the utmost confidence in the class that is still there and the class to come.”
Although Coatney was sad to see head coach Matt Luke leave the Rebels, he understands the process.
“I feel the program wants to go in the right direction — and it is a business. They wanted to go in a different direction for the future,” Coatney said. “That is completely understandable.”
Something else the 6-foot-4, 325-pound lineman also understands is he is in Mobile for what is the biggest audition of his life. While Coatney realizes he does not get a say in the decision of where he is drafted, he knows he can make a statement this week with his performance.
My top 5 @seniorbowl Day 1 standouts:
Michael Pittman Jr
Troy Pride Jr
— Cyril Zackary Penn IV (@cyrilpenn4) January 21, 2020
Players that stood out to me during Day 2 of the #SeniorBowl practices:
North: Jordan Love, Joshua Kelley, Denzel Mims, Darius Anderson, & Bradlee Anae.
South: Van Jefferson, Kyle Dugger, Akeem Davis-Gaither, Terrell Lewis, & Josiah Coatney.#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE
— Cody Manning (@CodyTalksNFL) January 22, 2020
Though many players are quick to mention teams for whom they would like to play, Coatney is not one of those. For him, the identity of his future NFL employer is secondary to the fact of simply getting the chance to make it to the next level, and he has brought the same blue-collar, grind-it-out mentality he had at Ole Miss with him to Mobile.
“Right now, I just want to go to the team that drafts me. I will be grateful for the opportunity and will play for any of the 32 teams in the NFL.”
Josiah Coatney on his NFL future
Coatney has familiar faces in the defensive huddle this week. Not only is he playing with teammate Benito Jones from Ole Miss, but former SEC West foes Jared Mayden, Anfernee Jennings and Terrell Lewis of Alabama, Marlon Davidson of Auburn and Mississippi State’s Brian Coll II.
The Senior Bowl kicks off at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and will be televised on the NFL Network. Click here to purchase tickets.